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Lincoln biographies: The latest -- The bicentennial of the 16th president's birth has spawned several new books

Lincoln biographies: The latest

President Obama's interest in Lincoln has coincided with the bicentennial celebration of his birth — an
 event that brings forth a stack of books taller than a stovepipe hat.

In Lincoln's Hand
By Harold Holzer and Joshua Wolf Shenk
Description: Facsimiles of original manuscripts of Lincoln's speeches and letters, adorned with short 
essays by presidents and pundits.
Choice Trivia: Lincoln advised a court-martialed Peeping Tom that voyeurism was ''not of great enormity, and yet greatly to be avoided.''
Bottom Line: Fresh, surprising commentary — see Conan O'Brien on the Seinfeldian wit of Honest Abe's telegrams — sets off Lincoln's still-inspiring words.
EW Grade: B+

''They Have Killed Papa Dead''
By Anthony S. Pitch
Description: A meticulously researched narrative of the Lincoln assassination, from the conspiracy 
and murder through the ensuing manhunt 
and trial.
Choice Trivia: A gypsy palm-reader predicted that 
John Wilkes Booth 
would come to a bad end.
Bottom Line: Pitch turns the tragedy into a great American true-crime story, complete with a charming 
sociopath, hard-boiled 
detectives, dank settings, and grisly forensics.
EW Grade: B+

A. Lincoln
By Ronald C. White Jr.
Description: This massive bio highlights Lincoln's
 development as a writer and thinker struggling with the racist dogmas of his day.
Choice Trivia: Union general 
Joseph Hooker's fondness 
for female camp-followers inspired a popular 
term for practitioners of the oldest profession.
Bottom Line: Lincoln's intellect 
 shines through in this portrait of a man 
 groping toward 
''a new Union and a new humanity.''
EW Grade: A-

Originally posted Jan 23, 2009 Published in issue #1032-1033 Jan 30, 2009 Order article reprints

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